In this review, we’re going to take a look at the features, pros, and cons of the top examples and try to determine the best French press on the market today. By the end of this review, you’ll have a sense of which are the best products to buy and how you can benefit from freshly made coffee every morning using a French press.
French presses, also known as cafetieres, are tools for brewing coffee that don’t require an expensive coffee grinder or a filter. French presses try to give you the best of both worlds. They retain the natural oils found in the coffee bean while sparing you the expense of a fully-fledged coffee machine.
A Spotlight On Some of The Best French Press Machines of 2020
Secura SFP-17DS Stainless Steel French Press
When Secura was designing the SFP-17DS, they realized that many of the popular French presses on the market weren’t taking advantage of thermal technology. The company, therefore, set about creating a French press that would maintain internal temperature and keep a body of water warm on the inside, but make the exterior cool to the touch. They wanted people to be able to pick up their French press safely, even if it did contain near-boiling liquid.
Secura, therefore, equipped their French press with a double wall. Like a Thermos flask, this double-wall keeps the heat inside the press, preventing it from being lost to the environment. This feature keeps the coffee warm and allows the brew stand for longer – perfect for a leisurely breakfast.
The whole device is made of stainless steel, helping to maintain the freshness and purity of the coffee, including the filter structure. The steel mesh traps the smallest coffee grounds, helping to create a rich coffee flavor, without any large particles contaminating the drink.
The SFP-17DS from Secura is a professional-looking product, but it’s also small. The brand likes to market it as “perfect for work or travel,” but many will find the 500 ml capacity too low, especially if sharing with another. The product is, therefore, limited to solo use, which is a shame.
What it lacks in versatility, however, it makes up in strength. If you’re the sort of person who has a habit of getting through multiple French presses throughout the year, then you may benefit from the Secura. The press offers all of the advantages of a professional cafetiere, including the ability to use it daily without worrying about it falling to bits. But it is also reassuringly over-engineered, with the filter and casing far more robust than practically any other product on the market right now outside of the professional setting.
- All parts stainless steel
- Double-wall insulated
- Warm coffee for 20 minutes
- Ships with extra screen
- Not vacuum insulated
Aicok Double-Wall 18/10 Stainless Steel French Press
Aicok, like Secura, offers a double-wall design, retaining heat. But the great thing about the Aicok is the fact that it comes in a one-liter size, perfect for two or even three people having breakfast together.
The quality of the construction of the Aicok is similar to that of the Secura. It too uses stainless steel that won’t rust or fade. Aicok stands by its products and offers a three-year warranty which is substantially longer than many other vendors on the market. The company says that this allows people to “order without worry.”
If there are any negatives associated with the Aicoke Double-Wall, they’re minor. Some people, for instance, might not like the minimalist design of the product. While it’s very professional, it lacks much personality or zest, which some customers may find off-putting. The company also apologizes for the price of its French presses but says that you get what you pay for – something that you probably already knew anyway.
The main advantage of the Aicok is the fact that you get all the accessories you need with the product. These include a coffee scoop and multiple steel mesh filters (just in case you need to change them at any point). You can also buy additional accessories and press replacement parts from Aicok directly. It’s a nice touch if you’re planning on using your cafetiere for a long time to come.
Another advantage of the Aicok is the superior filtration system. The company has invested significantly in creating steel mesh that is not only durable but also fine enough to remove all of those annoying grounds in your drink. While some of the finer steel meshes can deform with frequent use, this one doesn’t.
- 100% 18/10 stainless steel
- All parts dishwasher safe
- Six filters
- 24-month warranty
- None reported so far
Mueller French Press Coffee Maker
The main selling point of the company’s French press is the material specification. Mueller says that it’s coffee maker is 20 percent heavier and 33 percent thicker than the competition. The company has a passion for making cafetieres last a long as possible, and so has tweaked practically every aspect of the design.
Mueller, for instance, tested dozens of different filter styles, shapes, and materials during the development of its French press to try to find ways of getting it to last longer. Each filter design is optimized to improve longevity while allowing the user to filter out all the small particles in their coffee. There’s no doubt that this is a product that has been engineered from the ground up and provides perhaps the best quality in the entire industry.
There are other benefits of the Mueller too. The main one is the fact that you’re not limited to using it for coffee only. Because the press folds away neatly, you’re also able to double it up as a tea or hot chocolate pot or use it to make herbal infusions. The choice is yours.
Mueller also supplies a small container for your fresh coffee beans along with the pot as well as a host of accessories to make the whole process easier.
Is there anything to dislike about this press? Two things actually, though both are minor. The first gripe has to do with the press itself. While the mesh is fine (and, therefore, great for removing coffee particles), it takes a lot of force to push it down. People with weak wrists or arms could, therefore, struggle.
The other issue is that there are no fluid measurements on the press. It’s hard to tell how much water you’re adding or even how much the press contains. At a guess, you’d say that it was 32 ounces, but no markings or documentation confirms that.
- 100% 18/10 stainless steel
- All parts dishwasher safe
- Very fine mesh
- 24-month warranty
- Fine mesh requires more hand pressure
Veken French Press Coffee Maker
Unlike the French presses that we’ve seen so far in this review, Veken does not use a double-skinned stainless steel container. Instead, it uses the traditional glass walls, complete with measurement markings, like the cafetieres of old.
The benefits of glass are obvious. Glass allows you to see what you’re doing when you press down on the plunger. It lets you determine whether the press has done its job of removing the grounds from the liquid.
Glass also reduces the noise of using the French press. Many steel varieties make a scraping noise as you push on the filter. Glass varieties do not – or if they do, it’s much quieter.
Of course, you miss out on many advantages of stainless steel when you choose a glass cafetiere. The main issue with the Veken French Press Coffee Maker is the lack of insulation. While the heatproof glass will happily contain boiling liquid all day long, it does allow the heat to escape faster than a steel device, preventing it from being travel-friendly. The fact that it lacks a double insulating wall also means that the coffee cools more quickly, making it more difficult to have a long, relaxed breakfast. You know that you have a limited time to drink your coffee before it goes cold.
On the plus side, however, Veken includes a range of innovative accessories to go with its Fresh press. You get a wooden spoon, measuring spoon and milk frother added. Perhaps the most interesting of all of the accessories is the sponge cleaning brush. Veken is keen to point out that it’s French press is made using stainless steel components that will not rust. The problem, however, is that coffee has a nasty habit of staining “stainless steel” a brown color after many uses. Veken, therefore, includes a brush that allows you to clean the bolt at the bottom of the filter, and the filter itself, should it start turning a murky brown.
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Extra screens
- Measuring spoon
- Some plastic parts
Bodum Chambord French Press
Just like the Veken, Bodum also believes in glass-walled French presses. The company’s “Chambord” press is enormous. The 51-ounce French press is among the largest of its type on the market and can provide enough coffee for twelve 4-ounce cups.
Compared to all of the other French presses in this review, Bodum’s is arguably the most stylish. It has that quintessential French press appearance with the domed lid, spherical plunger handle, and steel girders supporting the glass container. The black, rounded handle completes the look. It’s a French press for die-hard coffee enthusiasts who want the original experience and don’t want to suffer the indignity of using a modern, steel-bodied equivalent. Bodum says that the design harks back to the original used in France in the 1950s.
It’s not all good news, though. Being a glass cafetiere, it comes with all of the limitations of that variety, including the fact that you have to drink your coffee quickly to avoid it going cold. The design also means that it’s not a particularly portable cafetiere. It’s not something, for instance, that you could take on camp with you, unlike many of the over-engineered products described above.
There’s also a slight design flaw in the Bodum. Most French presses allow you to depress the plunger to the floor of the device. With the Bodum, however, you can’t. It stops just short, something that many coffee aficionados may find annoying.
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Perfect size
- Great design
- No cup markers
What are the advantages of making fresh coffee with a French press as opposed to other methods?
With coffee shops, home coffee grinders, and filter coffee available, you may wonder why people still want to use French presses to make their coffee. It turns out that French presses offer a host of advantages over other methods.
The first significant advantage of French presses is the unique coffee taste and aroma. The way that French presses work is different from filter coffee or coffee from an espresso machine. Unlike filter coffee, the natural oils from the coffee bean enter the drink, helping to give it a fuller, more complete flavor. And, by contrast to the coffee made by an espresso machine, the taste is gentler. Espresso machines work by forcing boiling water at high pressure through fresh grounds. While this might release the oils, it also shuttles many of the other bitter compounds into the drink which wouldn’t be there otherwise. A French press lets the grounds brew in the water passively, gently releasing their flavor.
French presses also possess a range of practical advantages over filter coffee and espresso machines. For starters, you can take them with you wherever you go, especially the travel-friendly stainless steel variety. Nothing is stopping you from popping your French press in the car and taking it with you on a picnic, so long as you have a source of boiling water.
When it comes to cleaning, French presses put you at an advantage there too. Cleaning a fully-fledged coffee machine can be a challenge, but with a French press, it’s easy. You just clean the glass or steel container in the same way that you would any other pot or jug, and, if you want, put the steel press mesh in the dishwasher. You don’t have to spend hours scrubbing coffee stains off the surface of machine components, as you do with espresso machines.
What about the health benefits of coffee made in a French press? Here too, the method may be superior. When you brew coffee in a French press, you provide the ideal conditions for all the essential oils and antioxidants in the coffee bean to filter out into the surrounding liquid. Because French presses use only the mechanical power of the person operating them, you don’t risk losing or damaging any of the beneficial phytonutrients in the coffee. Filtering coffee or pushing it through the beans at high pressure may degrade some of the beneficial compounds in the drink researchers believe are good for health.
What are the pros and cons?
Let’s summarize some of the pros and cons of using a French press to make coffee.
- It helps to make coffee healthier by preserving essential nutrients
- You have more control over the temperature of the water, allowing you to achieve the perfect taste for your brewed coffee
- French presses are one of the most portable methods for brewing coffee, allowing you to enjoy it on the go
- Steel-sided double-walled French presses keep your coffee hot for longer, allowing you to enjoy fresh coffee while on the road, hours after you brew it
- It’s easier to clean French presses compared to many other means of making coffee, particularly using espresso machines
- Coffee made in a French press has a unique taste and aroma that some coffee aficionados love and prefer to standard espresso-machine coffee
- Large French presses allow you to make up to twelve, four-ounce cups of coffee at a time, making them ideal for large gatherings
- There’s a risk of sediment building up in the bottom of your cup. While French presses use fine steel meshes, the odd ground could get through. Your coffee, therefore, could contain “bits.”
- Cleaning coffee grounds away isn’t as easy as you might hope when you’re out and about or traveling with your French press. You can’t always wash the coffee ground down the sink. Sometimes you have to scoop them out of the bottom of the container using a spoon once you’re finished with the device. If you don’t have a bit nearby, you could find yourself stuck.
- You have to consider many more factors than when using a drip machine or a Nespresso. When making coffee with a French press, you have to take account of the grind size, filter size, water temperature, and how long you leave it to brew.
French presses are, in general, a great way to get your coffee. Many people prefer drinking their coffee from French presses than other methods, thanks to the unique qualities that it gives their drink.
It’s not all rosy, though. While today you might be able to buy some exceptionally high-quality French presses, you need to know what you’re doing if you want to use them properly. You have to become an expert and learn about brewing, the type of ground to use, and timings. It’s not as simple as pressing a button and letting a machine do it all for you. French presses are much lower-tech.
The great thing about them, though, is that they let you enjoy your coffee whenever you happen to be. With a French press, you can sit down an enjoy breakfast on your terrace with your family, without having to dart to and fro from the kitchen.